Is Google about to start scanning your Android for malware?

Graham Cluley
@gcluley

Do you still think that there’s no need for an anti-virus on your Android smartphone? Soon you might not have any choice.

Judging by a report on the Android Police website, a new edition of the Google Play app (Android’s equivalent to the iOS App Store) has put in place the foundations for some kind of anti-virus functionality.

Looking at the code seen inside the app, it appears that Google could soon have the capability to perform anti-malware scans on your smartphone. Our own examination has confirmed the existence of strings in the app’s code such as:

“Allow Google to check all apps installed to this device for harmful behavior? To learn more, go to Settings > Security.”

“Installing this app may harm your device”

“Installation has been blocked”

“To protect you, Google has blocked the installation of this app.”

There are also some interesting-looking graphics…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

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